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For 75 years, the focus of the United Auto Workers has been on the Big Three Detroit auto makers. With two of those companies in bankruptcy and membership continuing to decline, the UAW now says it will target foreign-owned car plants for membership drives. Many of the plants are in right-to-work (protecting workers from being forced into unions) states. One labor expert says the move is critical to the UAW’s survival. One thing is certain, the UAW is willing to spend money in this effort. Members approved spending $60 million for organizing from a fund that contains more than $800 million.

QUESTIONS:

  1. Examine the legal protections for workers and legal issues that exist in the workplace. Take a position for or against labor unions and use the information in these sections to build your case.
  2. Review the information on labor unions in the chapter. Aside from being legally permitted to do so, what reasons are there for the UAW to target foreign-owned car plants? Are these reasons legitimate?
  3. Review the practices associated with maintaining a quality workforce. From your reading of the article, what things are foreign-owned car companies currently doing for their workers? Imagine you were the human resources manager at one of these facilities. What strategy would you develop to keep the UAW from being a threat?

SOURCE: M. Dolan, “UAW Sets a Strategy on Foreign Car Plants,” Wall Street Journal (Retrievable online at http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748704735304576057980652700842.html)

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Beginning with the new year, Marriott International is launching a sustainable seafood program called Future Fish. All Marriott hotels must purchase at least 50% of their seafood from certified sustainable vendors. A Marriott spokesperson says the move was driven partially by chefs and partially by customers that are concerned about green issues. The program means that Marriott will be changing its seafood menu, dropping some items it deems are not currently sustainable and adding new sustainable items, which may require educating customers.

QUESTIONS:

  1. There is little question that Marriott’s sustainable seafood program reflects values. Whose values? Are the values represented terminal or instrumental? Can both be represented in this initiative?
  2. What ethical view is represented by Marriott’s decision to launch Future Fish?
  3. Make a case that Marriott’s move to sustainable fish is corporate social responsibility. Defend both sides of the definition.
  4. What type of social responsibility strategy is Marriott following?

SOURCE: B. DeLollis, “Marriott International Launches Sustainable Seafood Program,” USA Today (Retrievable online at http://travel.usatoday.com/hotels/post/2010/12/marriott-international-launches-sustainable-seafood-program/134426/1)

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When the Penn State women’s volleyball team had their NCAA-record 109-match winning streak snapped in September, many volleyball insiders thought this might also signal the end of the Nittany Lion’s consecutive national championships streak. The Lady Lions lost five matches during the regular season – as many as they lost during the previous four seasons. The team was seeded 4th in NCAA Tournament, leaving few to predict they would win it all. Penn State advanced to the Final Four dropping only one of the 13 sets they played. They would not lose again. The team had plenty of senior experience, but were powered as much by freshmen Deja McClendon, the tournament’s Most Outstanding Player, and Katie Slay.

QUESTIONS:

  1. Review Coach Rose’s comments about his players. How does this reflect synergy?
  2. Many times, people judge team effectiveness solely on outcomes. Take a close look at the definition for an effective team. Undoubtedly, no team in the history of NCAA volleyball has outperformed Penn State. How would you assess them on the other two dimensions?
  3. Now review Figure 14.3. What inputs and throughputs contribute to Penn State’s team effectiveness?
  4. What are some of the team norms evident in the articles?

SOURCE: Associated Press, “Penn State Sweeps Cal to Win 4th Consecutive Volleyball Title,” USA Today (Retrievable online at http://www.usatoday.com/sports/college/volleyball/2010-12-18-penn-state-cal-championship_N.htm)

SEE ALSO: Associated Press, “Dynasty: Penn State Continues Dominance on Volleyball Court,” USA Today (Retrievable online at http://www.usatoday.com/sports/college/volleyball/2010-12-19-penn-state-dynasty_N.htm)

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You probably heard the phrase “starving artists.” For artists in Japan, the phrase is a little bit too true. Demand for art in the country has dried up to the point where Japanese artists are looking to other countries in the region (and beyond) for buyers. Demand is so tight that many up  and coming artists are not getting any recognition.

QUESTIONS:

  1. Take a look at the definition for entrepreneurship. Are the artists described in the article entrepreneurial? Defend your answer.
  2. Consider what you know about artists. What characteristics do they possess that match up well or do not match up well with the characteristics typically associated with entrepreneurs?
  3. Look at the section titled Entrepreneurship and Small Business in your text. Using the information provided there, suggest a way for Japanese artists to expand their business.

SOURCE: S. Sesser, “For Artists, A Chilly Landscape in Japan,” Wall Street Journal (Retrievable online at http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748704694004576020022791838068.html)

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Two corporate mainstays – one in the United States (Sara Lee) and one in Brazil (JBS) – are considering a deal to join the two companies. The move comes in a frenzy of acquisitions by foreign companies in the United States, with Brazilian companies leading the way. Markets reacted favorably to news of a possible acquisition. The deal is not done and Sara Lee is considering several options.

QUESTIONS:

  1. Use Porter’s Five Forces Model to analyze Sara Lee as a takeover target. What forces make it attractive? Unattractive?
  2. How did Sara Lee and JBS grow their companies? Does it make sense for JBS to depart from this strategy to acquire Sara Lee?
  3. Analyze the purchase of Sara Lee from the standpoint of global strategy.

SOURCE: G. Chon, A. Das, I. Brat, & J. Lublin, “Sara Lee Weighs Foreign Takeover,” Wall Street Journal (Retrievable online at http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748704034804576025920799954668.html)

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It was a move that was stunning if not for the fact that a former U.S. President held a press conference at the White House than for the fact that the current President excused himself while it happened. Former President Bill Clinton took the podium to talk to reporters about the necessity of compromise on some national issues and the need to fight on others. The move was made to provide answers following President Obama’s inability to satisfy critics of his compromise that extends tax cuts while also extending unemployment benefits.

QUESTIONS:

  1. In what ways does having former President Bill Clinton address reporters reflect social capital?
  2. Consider the approval ratings of both presidents. What effect, if any, does this have on persuasiveness and credibility? Was the decision to have President Clinton address the media a good one? Why or why not?
  3. Clearly, President Obama will be at odds with the new Republican-led House of Representatives on several key issues. Review President Clinton’s remarks. Now examine the various conflict management styles and discuss when one might be more appropriate than another. Was the President’s decision to compromise on extending tax cuts a wise one?
  4. President Clinton mentioned health care as a major issue. A number of key Republicans indicate they wish to repeal the recently-passed health care bill. Should President Obama negotiate with them? If President Obama chooses to negotiate, how should he go about ensuring it would be effective?

SOURCE: J. Weisman, “Bill Clinton Takes Center Stage,” Wall Street Journal (Retrievable online at http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748704457604576011890494296766.html)

Related video clip:

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Fannie May is a Midwestern candy icon. Yet even icons sometimes do not work and, when the family-owned confectionary struggled in the early 1990s, it was sold to private investors. A decade later, the company was in bankruptcy (twice) and stores and manufacturing operations closed. The company was purchased by Alpine Confections and sales resumed in a limited number of retail stores. Now, under the ownership of 1-800-Flowers.com, the company is looking once again to expand.

QUESTIONS:

  1. What is(are) the competitive advantage(s) of Fannie May? Is this sustainable? When you consider the intense loyalty of Fannie May customers, why do you think the company struggled?
  2. In addition to customer loyalty, what contributed to Alpine Confections’ success in resurrecting Fannie May?
  3. Conduct a quick SWOT analysis for Fannie May (note: be sure to consider that it is now owned by 1-800-Flowers.com).
  4. Identify the restructuring strategy at Fannie May. What web-based model is now part of this restructuring effort?

SOURCE: Associated Press, “Sweet Success: Fannie May Back After Bankruptcy,” USA Today (Retrievable online at http://www.usatoday.com/money/industries/food/2010-11-27-fannie-may-turnaround_N.htm)

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The recent release of secret government documents on the website WikiLeaks highlights a serious problem of doing business in the Information Age – it is tough to maintain total control of company data when it exists in electronic form. What is more, information that is transmitted via computer networks is subject to interception. Even if that were not the case, disgruntled employees can easy transport company information to outsiders.

QUESTIONS:

  1. We see in Chapter 1 that technology and ethics are key characteristics of working today. Talk about how these two factors intersect given what we learned through the WikiLeaks situation.
  2. Examine Figure 6.1. Three information flows are represented. Intelligence information flows outside in. Internal information represents the flow within an organization. Public information flows inside out. How might the WikiLeaks affair fundamentally change these flows of information?
  3. Many of the advantages of information technology are presented in the chapter. Change is a byproduct of the increased importance of technology. Discuss the pros and cons of storing information/decisions electronically versus in hard copy form (i.e., in a filing cabinet). How must IT functions be integrated into the overall management of a company?

SOURCE: J. Robertson, “Companies Beware: The Next Big Leak Could Be Yours,” USA Today (Retrievable online at http://www.usatoday.com/money/companies/management/2010-12-02-company-leaks_N.htm)

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The economic recession has been hard on many. While most of the reporting and statistics focus on able-bodied workers that are unemployed, another sector often goes unnoticed. For many laid off during the downturn, getting re-employed means taking jobs with pay and responsibilities much lower than what they previously held. A case study of four such individuals highlights the difficulties of getting back into the workforce.

QUESTIONS:

  1. Consider Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs and the cases of Greg Corkett and Mike Sebastian. Maslow contends that movement through the hierarchy is always upward (i.e., satisfied needs no longer motivate). Both Messrs. Corkett and Sebastian achieved a measure of success in their careers. Arguably, they were both engaged by higher-order needs. Where (in the hierarchy) are they now? Does Hierarchy of Needs account for this? What about ERG Theory?
  2. If acquired needs are developed over time, as McClelland contends, they do not go away overnight even with the loss of a job. Examine statements made by Messrs. Corkett and Sebastian and discuss how they adjusted these job-based needs.
  3. Put yourself in the position of any of these four workers. Using Expectancy Theory, explain how you might be motivated despite holding a job with lesser status/pay and more menial tasks.
  4. How does Self-Efficacy Theory apply to Greg Corkett, both in terms of what he is doing now and what he hopes to be doing in the future?

SOURCE: P. Davidson, “Economy Has Sent Executives to Jobs Down Corporate Ladder,” USA Today (Retrievable online at http://www.usatoday.com/money/economy/2010-12-03-lesserjobs03_CV_N.htm)

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The University of Connecticut women’s basketball team is poised to make history by breaking the record for consecutive wins in collegiate basketball (currently 88 held by UCLA). Leading the way is senior Maya Moore, who established a new career scoring mark of 2,355 points when Connecticut beat Sacred Heart. Moore’s total eclipses a record set just last year by Tina Charles.

QUESTIONS:

  1. Review the quotes on teamwork that open the chapter. Discuss the ways each applies to the Connecticut Huskies women’s basketball team.
  2. Talk about it. How does a team like Connecticut continue to win (and win national championships) when there is so much parity in college sports?
  3. Can a college sports team be self-managing? Explain.
  4. Examine the open-systems model of team effectiveness. Which factors are controlled by the coaching staff at Connecticut? Which factors are under the control of the players? While task performance is evident, what are the other outcomes of effectiveness for this team and how are they realized?

SOURCE: Associated Press, “UConn Streak at 86 as Moore Becomes All-Time Scoring Leader,” USA Today (Retrievable online at http://www.usatoday.com/sports/college/womensbasketball/2010-12-05-connecticut-sacred-heart_N.htm)